As the kids have been watching a lot of Disney movies on Disney+ recently, I do try to sneak the occasional older film into what we are viewing. They still prefer the newer (CG) animated movies, which is fine, those are some quality pieces of filmmaking. But there is something nostalgic about watching the older films from when I was growing up.
Films from this great era are a part of the Disney Renaissance period which ran from 1989 – 1999.
Movies during this time were:
- The Little Mermaid (1989)
- The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
- Beauty and the Beast (1991)
- Aladdin (1992)
- The Lion King (1994)
- Pocahontas (1995)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
- Hercules (1997)
- Mulan (1998)
- Tarzan (1999)
So, I have to admit, I didn’t see all the movies that were released during the Disney Renaissance period (1989-1999). I saw ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘The Rescuers Down Under’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’.
I also saw ‘Pocahontas’ as a camp counselor over the summer in 1995. A trip to the movies was a field trip. Didn’t think it was great, compared to ‘The Lion King’, but if it had come out a year or two before, I think it would have been great.
More recently I saw ‘Mulan’ with Miles and Aubrey. Good movie. Wouldn’t work today the way it was made and I am glad they are making a live action version to rid any bad vibes that were made when they released the animated version.
After watching a lot of the current (Revival) era of movies, I noticed that most of the movies don’t really have a truly memorable villain. ‘The Princess and the Frog’ had Dr. Facilier, ‘Tangled’ had Mother Gothel, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ had King Candy, ‘Zootopia’ and ‘Big Hero 6’ had villains as well (but I won’t spoil those here).
All great villains, in the classic sense. Evil motive, hurt a lot of people, threatened the lives and livelihood of the main characters.
But, the rest of the films had paper villains or scenarios that needed to be fixed (and, honestly, that’s just my opinion).
We can delve deeper into the villains of the Revival Era in a future (Editorial) article. But today I wanted to talk about who the Best Villain was from the Renaissance Era of films.
As I mentioned above, there are only some I can’t speak to; those include:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules and Tarzan.
Shockingly I’ve seen the rest, either back when they originally came out or more recently. Maybe one day I’ll watch these three and revise my current thoughts on the Best Villain for this era is.
Each movie has an actual evil villain, they all plot against the heroes of these films
- The Little Mermaid – Ursula
- The Rescuers Down Under – Percival C. McLeach
- Beauty and the Beast – Gaston
- Aladdin – Jafar
- The Lion King – Scar
- Pocahontas – Ratcliffe
- Mulan – Shan Yu
Four of the above above are more iconic than the others. So we can remove Percival C. McLeach, Ratcliffe, and Shan Yu.
Which leaves us with Ursula, Gaston, Jafar and Scar.
Aside from being iconic and in such a great movie, I never thought Gaston was that big of a threat. He was more of a pompous ass, high school jock, that thought way too highly of himself. Seeing that this is my blog and my editorial and my thoughts on the villains in the Renaissance Era Disney movies (that I’ve seen), I’m removing Gaston.
I’m setting my sights on three villains for the ultimate showdown:
Ursula, Jafar and Scar
In my opinion, to be a great villain, you have to be hateful and/or easily hated, evil with truly despicable reasons to be bad and get ahead in the world, and you have to affect (or is it effect) the world around you.
For two of these villains I feel like they were on the verge of hitting all three of these points.
Ursula and Jafar. Both were dastardly and evil in their own right. Twisting the truths and molding their surroundings to better themselves.
Both obtained the ultimate power that they were seeking only to be cut short by a very timely mistake.
Ursula was so consumed by her newly found power that she didn’t see Prince Eric heading right for her with a ship.
Jafar was blinded by his newly acquired power that he didn’t think before he asked for his final wish, turning him into a Genie and allowing Aladdin to put him into a lamp.
I feel the true victor in all of these villains is Scar.
Scar is the ultimate villain in the Renaissance Era of Disney films. While he didn’t have supernatural powers, he was someone you could hate, evil and truly affected (or effected) the world around him.
Scar killed Muffasa, ran Simba off, allowed the Hennas into the Pride Lands and allowed the Pride Lands to essentially die under his rule. Scar really was allowed to be a villain of a higher level.
Doesn’t hurt that he was voiced by Jeremy Irons either.
Now, as I’ve often said to Miles when we are watching a movie, the bad guys always get it in the end and that’s what this is, the end.
What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know below. Who is your favorite Disney Renaissance Era villain?
Let us know below!